National Endowment for the Humanities offers emergency relief grants

National Endowment for the Humanities

The U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has released details of a new funding program as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These emergency relief grants will provide direct grants to individual institutions, designed to help the humanities community—broadly defined—recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (A separate NEH program will provide support to experienced grantmaking organizations to administer competitive grantmaking opportunities to support activities undertaken by other individuals and institutions.)

The program will provide grants of up to $500,000 to cultural organizations and educational institutions to support humanities positions and projects that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. This includes support for education, preservation and access, public programming, digital humanities, and scholarly research. The grants are designed to help a range of entities continue to advance their mission and can propose new projects or focus on sustaining core programs and activities.

Although NEH will consider all applications, the agency is particularly interested in projects related to A More Perfect Union: Exploring America’s Story and Commemorating its 250th Anniversary.

The American Rescue Plan program for humanities organizations will award grants in three funding levels:

  • Level I: Organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $1 million may request up to $50,000
  • Level II: Organizations with an annual operating budget between $1 million and $10 million may request up to $200,000
  • Level III: Organizations with an annual operating budget of greater than $10 million may request up to $500,000

Projects may start as early as October 1, 2021, and will last for one year. Overall NEH estimates that it will make approximately 150 grants for a total of $40 million.

Allowable costs under this program include personnel costs for those dedicated to the proposed activities; fees for consultants and contractors; needed supplies, materials, and equipment (not to exceed 20% of the request); and general operating support, generally recovered through indirect costs. Only one proposal may be submitted by each eligible applicant.

NEH will provide access to a pre-recorded webinar that will available by April 12, 2021.

Applications are due May 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Please contact with any questions.

What counts as ‘humanities’?

As a reminder, science-based cultural organizations are eligible to receive NEH grants for relevant projects, and ASTC member institutions have received NEH support in just the past year:

According to the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, “The term
‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern
and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology;
comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of the
social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study
and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to
reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to
the current conditions of national life.”

Additional Information:

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